Chris Wallace

President and CEO


Chris Wallace has been President/CEO of the Commission since June, 2018. Under his leadership, the NTC is quickly building its strength and capacity uniting prominent leaders to tackle the greatest challenges for our 13-county region. Today, the NTC manages the region's legislative advocacy at the state/federal levels and is a resource for diversity, equity, and inclusion.


Prior to joining the NTC, Wallace served as the President/COO of the Texas Association of Business. For 10 years, he served as President/ CEO of the Greater Irving-Las Colinas Chamber. 


Wallace graduated from Texas Tech University from the College of Media and Communications. He was named an outstanding alumnus in 2008. In 2019 and 2020, Wallace was named among Dallas' 500 most powerful business leaders in DFW by D CEO Magazine.


Dawn Miller

Chief Administrative Officer

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Dawn Miller is the Chief Administrative Officer, responsible for the efforts, results, and success of the Commission. In this role, she provides financial advice and support to help senior management make key decisions, as well as coordinate office administration and procedures, to ensure organizational effectiveness, efficiency, and safety. 

Dawn and her husband, Doug, live in Lewisville and have three grown children. A cornerstone member of the NTC staff, Dawn has been with the organization for over 30 years.


Patrick Brophey

Director, Stakeholder Relations & Legislative Planning

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As Manager of Stakeholder Relations and Legislative Planning Patrick Brophey manages the organization's Board of Directors, Executive Committee, and the 3 Industry Councils. In addition, Patrick works closely on advocacy issues as a part of the Commission's Legislative Team. 


Patrick graduated Texas Christian University in 2018 where he studied Communication and Political Science. Patrick has experience in government and politics on the local, state, and federal levels from working in legislative offices and on local and congressional Campaigns in Dallas-Fort Worth.


Patrick lives in Fort Worth with his wife, Caitlin.


Linda Valdez Thompson

Director, Leadership North Texas


Linda Valdez Thompson serves as the Director of Leadership North Texas. In this role, she manages all aspects of the Commission's leadership development programming. 


Linda brings many years of regional leadership to the Commission. Previously, she served as the Executive Vice President of Administration, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion at DFW Airport. During her time at the airport, she was one of the highest-ranking Latinas in the airport industry. 

Linda has a Bachelor's degree in Business Administration from Midwestern State University and a Masters in Organizational Management from the University of Phoenix. 

Charlene Stark

Senior Advisor, Strategic & Legislative Initiatives

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 At the Commission, Charlene Stark develops strategies, collaborative relationships, and solutions to improve the North Texas Region including spearheading the NTC's diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives.


Charlene's career includes corporate, nonprofit, and legislative experience. She served on the executive teams at Metrocare Services and NetSpeed and has advocated for underserved populations.


Charlene is a graduate of Texas Tech University. She lives in Dallas with her husband just a few miles from where she grew up.


Charles Luke

Policy Advisor, Education/Workforce Development, TEC Consultants 

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Dr. Charles Luke has over 35 years in business development, non-profit, and education-related work. A former Texas public school superintendents, Dr. Luke is a strong advocate for education throughout the State of Texas. He works closely with the Commission's Legislative Team to advocate for educational issues affecting North Texas. 


Dr. Luke serves as the Director of the Coalition for Education Funding, is a co-director of Pastors for Texas Children, coordinator for the Coalition for Public Schools. He is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Veterans Coalition of Tarrant County.

Ashley Mergele

Director, Communication &

Issue-Based Advocacy


Ashley Mergele has been the Marketing and Events Coordinator for the Commission since 2019. In this role, she is responsible for managing the Commission's social media presence, graphic design, and event planning. She also serves as the host and producer of the Commission's podcast Topic: North Texas. 


Ashley has previously worked for the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce and the City of San Marcos Main Street Program. She holds a B.A. in Communication Studies from Texas State University. 


Ashley lives in East Dallas with her mini Aussie, Winnie.


Caitlyn Miller

Office Manager

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As Office Manager for the North Texas Commission, Caitlyn is responsible for managing day-to-day tasks around the office. In addition, she provides support to the executive staff, supports event staff, and helps coordinate the Leadership North Texas program. 

Caitlyn holds a B.S. in Human Development & Family Studies from Texas Tech University. She currently resides in Frisco with her boyfriend, Dillon, and two dogs, Duke and Tessa.


Candy Slocum

Executive Director, North Central Texas InterLink

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Candy Slocum serves as Executive Director of North Central Texas InterLink, Inc., a regional non-profit business-education alliance with a 70-member board of directors. InterLink collects data used by regional Career and Technical Educators to develop programs to prepare students to proceed into the workforce or higher education. 


Throughout her career, Candy has proved to be a successful entrepreneur as a real estate agent. She also served as Assistant Vice President of Education at the Greater Dallas Chamber. 


Currently, Candy serves on various Boards including the North Texas Commission Board of Directors. She lives on a small ranch east of Dallas with her husband where they raise Black Brangus Cows and American Quarter Horses. 

Harold Strong

President & CEO, Medical

Innovation Collaborative

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Harold Strong serves as President & CEO of the Medical Innovation Collaborative, MIC. 


Prior to MIC, Harold served as Director of the University of North Texas Discovery Park and Technology Transfer to oversee the design and development of strategies to stimulate and manage multidisciplinary research, education, and training to benefit students, faculty, researchers, and the business community. 


Harold is a nationally recognized leader in research park and innovation district development with vast experience in developing partnerships between institutions in higher education and industries, defining and executing economic development plans, and developing and managing business incubators.

Marc Rodriguez

State Lobbyist

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Marc Rodriguez currently serves as one of the Commission's State Lobbyist. 

In his work as a government relations consultant, he uses personal experience as an entrepreneur to identify with and understand his clients' industry challenges. Mr. Rodriguez has worked on state legislative issues for the last 13 consecutive Texas state legislative sessions and has a professional history of representing entities with elected and appointed boards. 

Jim Keffer

Senior Policy Advisor

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For 20 years, Jim Keffer served in the Texas House of Representatives. During his time, he served as Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, as well as the Economic Development, and Energy Resources Committees.

Jim currently resides in Eastland, where he is President of EBAA Iron Sales. He is a former Eastland County GOP Chair and graduate of Texas Tech University.

 He currently serves as a senior policy advisor for the North Texas Commission. In this role, he helps the Legislative Team with policy issues.

Jennifer Rodriguez

State Lobbyist


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Jennifer Rodriguez currently serves as one of the Commission's State Lobbyist. 

Jennifer represents clients and governmental entities before the Texas Legislature and regulatory agencies. She primarily focuses on her practice on local government, occupational regulation, economic development, defense contracting and technology.

Jennifer has worked in state government and politics since 1995. 

Chris Lamond

Federal Lobbyist, Thorn Run Partners


Chris Lamond brings significant experience in developing, implementing, and managing federal government relation strategies to the Commission. 

Mr. Lamond founded Thorn Run Partners in 2010 after seven years with Ogilvy Government Relations. He has built a career representing clients before federal, state, and local governments and brings more than 20 years of experience working for and with governmental entities.